This course provides a historical introduction to the past twenty-five years of Italian cinema. In the age of television, digital culture, and the so-called crisis of cinema, we will ask how a selection of postmodern filmmakers have responded to the imposing legacies left by the great auteurs of the Italian cinematic tradition (De Sica, Visconti, Fellini). We will focus on situating the films in the historical and cultural contexts that have shaped the past several decades of Italian social life. Films by: Moretti, Bertolucci, Benigni, Amelio, Nichetti, Crialese, and Tornatore. Lectures, discussions, and readings in English. Films in Italian with English subtitles.

Learning Goals:

By the end of the semester, students will be familiar with some of the canonical works of Italian cinema, will be able to critically analyze films according to their textual typologies (e.g., generic codes and conventions), to relate them to the specific socio-historical context and processes of production (e.g. film industry, audience expectations), and to communicate their ideas effectively, both orally and in written form, in modes appropriate to the discipline.

Departmental Goals II and III: Cultural Proficiency and Professional Preparation.

Course Requirements and Grade Distribution:

Participation, 25%: regular attendance at screenings, lectures, and recitation sections is mandatory. Highest grades for participation are earned by students who come to class on time having seen the film and read the material assigned for each class, prepare the questions assigned, pose thoughtful questions, offer their insights consistently, communicate their thoughts effectively, and listen respectfully to the contributions of other students.

Mid-term examination, 25%: Based on lectures and readings, includes identifications and an essay question. The identifications and the essay are aimed at assessing the student’s ability to relate the films to their historical and cultural background as well as to theoretical concepts that are specific to the area of inquiry of the course.

Paper, 25%: Approximately seven pages (1,700-1,900 words, typed and double-spaced) on a topic to be discussed with your instructor. Due in the recitation section of week 11. No late papers will be accepted, no exceptions. Students are required to analyze and compare at least two films and examine critically at least two other sources concerning their topic. They should demonstrate the ability to synthesize and communicate effectively complex ideas in standard written English.

Final exam, 25%: Based on lectures and readings, includes identifications and one essay question. The final exam assesses the student’s progress in the abilities to relate art and literature both to their historical and cultural background as well as to theoretical concepts that are specific to the course. For the date of our final exam, consult the following link: